Vinnie Jones going at it with adrenalin against Stone Cold Steve Austin in the action flick
He made an impact on the big screen thanks to his good friend Guy Ritchie. But Vinnie Jones is more than just a hard-core British actor. A former soccer star, he's turned to movies - and it's paid off in a big way.
His newest, The Condemned has him as one of ten death row inmates on an island fighting for his life against nine other inmates. He's a ruthless killer with nothing on his mind except for winning this game - and trying to take down Stone Cold Steve Austin in the process.
We sat down with Vinnie to talk about The Condemned; here's what he had to say:
What did you do to prepare yourself physically for this?
Vinnie Jones: We'd go out there early, me and Steve; I was finishing a movie and I said as soon as I do the movie I'm coming out so we went out there early. Richard Norton, the stunt guy here, he'd done a lot of work through the years with Chuck Norris and everybody else and we had him as our stunt man and he said guys here it is. Do you want the camera in close and fight each other for real 75% or do you want us to pull the camera back out there and we can? So we both wanted to go for it especially Steve's first movie; he said I'm going with you boys and I said Steve the adrenalin on the day gets you through it. There's a couple of scenes there where he's got me and he's pounding me, we're really going at it but we're going at it with adrenalin - he was smashing me I can't tell you.
How was he to fight against?
Vinnie Jones: I was screaming 'come on!' and the whole thing took over; he was pounding me, and never in the shot was he supposed to start hitting me with the other arm, he got carried away. And on them rocks and stuff was horrible - the only thing we had to help was they put Hessian sacks on them and they put felt on our boots because they'd done it with stunt men but stunt men was up with the eagles you know that big and we said get it down there and we'll do it.
Were you able to play soccer on your breaks?
Vinnie Jones: Where we were staying on the beach was a tennis court and that there; us English, we turn a tennis court into a small soccer patch and we play I think like football/tennis. So you play tennis with the football without the racket; we were getting everybody doing that. But even during the movie Steve was in the gym everyday; he seriously was down there working out.
When you look at a script what do you look for in it?
Vinnie Jones: I look at my character first. I do that before I even read the script; with this, I looked at my character and I didn't particularly like it and then I read the script and I loved McStarley. So when I went and met Scott (Wiper); I said you know I really don't like that you know Robert Mammone's character, I said I like the McStarley character because although he's like joint league #2 in the movie at the end his redemption and you know is brilliant for me. Here's this guy killing people, shooting people all the rest and you think he's the baddest lunatic on the planet and all of a sudden he gets in there and he gets the guy and he says do you enjoy watching all this? And all of a sudden you say, 'Sh*t, he is human!" Then when I do the speech in the chair about why I'm like this you know don't think, 'you had it easy.' There's a lot of people out there with McStarley's problems that want to sit in that leather chair and explain it.
What's it like working with or for Vince McMahon?
Vinnie Jones: I met Vince in '99 I think with Stone Cold they came to town in London and we'd done the WWE there the wrestling - I was Stone Cold's tag partner, it's a small world. But he asked me if I'd do the wrestling and I said 'yeah;' he said we're going to team you up with Stone Cold Steve Austin. So when this call came through and said Stone Cold's doing this movie and I thought it must be the end of his career as a wrestler as well then, you know.
Could you picture yourself doing like Steve Austin's part?
Vinnie Jones: I think a good baddy the audience loves them; they love to hate you. I said to Steve that for me this movie, if they cheer him and hate me and boo me we've done our job. The last couple of minutes of the movie for me turns the audience around on McStarley for me; they go 'Shit, he's intelligent.' All this stuff has built up and this is not just because he's been paid to do this well, this is a human being sitting there.
Some people were applauding when you killed everyone.
Vinnie Jones: When McStarley actually stops and says do you enjoy watching all this it's like the kid's like what do you mean? You can't watch that; McStarley, his character is what you see for an hour and a half and the last 5 minutes it shows you that somewhere this guy was an intelligent guy. Where did he come from? The fact that he was down there on the shop floor working for Robert Mammone doesn't take away that he still doesn't agree with what's been going on and in real life we're the same. There's a big message, because how far in the future is it?
On this film, what was the set like in between the scenes?
Vinnie Jones: There was a lot of mickey taking because Steve's got a great sense of humor.
He said that about you.
Vinnie Jones: Yeah, the laughs were fantastic; but the only scene that went not wrong it went right. The scene where I rape the girl - you can't just walk into work and be laughing and joking and do a scene like that; so I came to work and I was just had to alienate myself from everybody and I stayed away. I worked myself up into such a frenzy about what I was going to do and what I was going to do to this woman because I'm always have been in my life a big protector of women. If I see a guy slap a girl I would rip their head off; I'm very like that. So I had to get myself into this and it really spooked everybody because we'd done it even in between sets I didn't speak to anybody I was in completely in the zone; I was freaked out. We went to lunch and the whole crew was freaked out; there was this ridiculous atmosphere and then even until going home at the end of the day I couldn't. It just never left me and I came back in the next day and we sort of eased into it but everybody had this big hangover of that rape scene.
Check out all the craziness of Vinnie Jones in The Condemned, in theaters April 27th; it's rated R.